Life on a military troopship – article from The Graphic 1879

From The Graphic - weekly newspaper 1879

From The Graphic – weekly newspaper 1879


This is copied from The Graphic – the bath routine looks interesting.


These sketches have a special interest now that our troopships are more than usually busy conveying soldiers to South Africa and elsewhere.  The first shows the morning bath, to which all have to submit no matter what the state of the thermometer may be.  At daybreak (4 A.M.) the sail-cloth tank is got out and filled with sea-water, and in obedience to the signal the men leave their snug hammocks below, and come shivering on deck to take the disagreeable plunge.  There are but few “malingerers,” for all who report themselves “sick” have their beer stopped for the day, an alternative by no means agreeable to the tastes of the average British soldier.  Next we have an illustration of the punishment awarded by the naval code for certain trivial offences.  During smoking hours the culprits have to stand at “attention” facing the bulwarks, which are too high for them to see over, so that the punishment is very like that in vogue in the nursery when a naughty child is made to confine its attention to the pattern of the wall paper whilst its companions who have been good are enjoying themselves. – “Serving Out Hammocks” is a subject which explains itself.  This, like everything else on board, is done in a methodical fashion.  The men are called on deck, where they stand in files, motionless and silent as statues, whilst the orderlies told off for the duty select and distribute the hammocks until each man is served, when all are marched off below. – Our engravings are from sketches taken on board H.M.S. Orontes by Colour-Sergeant Norman Latham, 35th Regiment.”

From The Graphic - weekly newspaper 1879

From The Graphic – weekly newspaper 1879

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2018

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